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The original manuscript of the Chronicle was created late in the 9th century, probably in Wessex, during the reign of Alfred the Great (r. Multiple copies were made of that one original and then distributed to monasteries across England, where they were independently updated.In one case, the Chronicle was still being actively updated in 1154.He discusses the solitariness of a life on the waves, the cold, the danger, and the hardships.As such, the poem captures the bewitching fascination the sea holds for us, but also its darker, more unpredictable side.Seven of the nine surviving manuscripts and fragments now reside in the British Library.

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It is generally agreed that the original version – sometimes known as the Early English Annals Frank Stenton argued from internal evidence that it was first compiled for a secular, but not royal, patron; and that "its origin is in one of the south-western shires..some point not far from the boundary between Somerset and Dorset".Perfect fireside reading, and an archetypal work of English literature, composed when the notion of ‘England’ itself was only just beginning to emerge.Recommended edition: now sadly out of print, but available second-hand, this Norton Critical Edition includes Seamus Heaney’s acclaimed translation of the poem along with invaluable background information and a selection of critical essays on the poem: Beowulf: Verse Translation: A Verse Translation (Norton Critical Editions) by Heaney, Seamus New edition (2002). This 124-line poem is often considered an elegy, since it appears to be spoken by an old sailor looking back on his life and preparing for death.Here’s a riddle for you: what hangs down by the thigh of a man, under his cloak, yet is stiff and hard? This is one of a number of riddles found in the , one of the jewels in the crown of Anglo-Saxon literature. At just 53 lines, this is one of the shortest works of Anglo-Saxon literature included in this list.When the man pulls up his robe, he puts the head of this hanging thing into that familiar hole of matching length which he has filled many times before. It’s a cry of despair and grief, told from the perspective of a wife whose husband has been exiled.

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